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Issue 957 May 9, 2010
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Census Official Updates Rotarians on 2010 Census Progress

Accurate count essential to Michigan and Local Communities

May 9, 2010       Leave a Comment
By: Stephen Kent

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Anthony Turner
Charles Brunner, Bay City Mayor, opened Tuesday's program with a short update on the importance of the Census to Bay City and what the City has done.

The City and County have been planning for the Census for months. The amount of money that will actually be spent by the Federal Government over the next ten years, based on census numbers, will be 400 TRILLION dollars. Brunner said, with humor, that he'd like to bring all of that to Bay City.

The population of Bay City is about 34,000. That's based on census numbers. Officials are waiting anxiously for the updated numbers because so much of the funding of the city is based on that count.

Bay County is currently at 80% of forms returned. In 2000 we were at 81%, so we're right on track. The last 20% is the most difficult. Census workers are in the city now going door to door to collect those final counts.

Anthony Turner, Partnership Specialist from the Census Bureau's Detroit Regional Office, spoke on the specifics of the count. Turner has been with the Census since 2000 and has worked throughout the region.

Turner started with the statement "We get it. We know the effect of the census on redistricting, on the distribution of money, on the importance to communities." Each person who is not counted is estimated to cost a Michigan community $100,000 over the next ten years.

The Census has been working in the area for the last two years. They have recruited over 598 partners in the effort. These include businesses, churches, schools, volunteers and government agencies. These have at the very least helped promote the Census.

The bureau spent a lot of money on advertising. They have found that each one percent increase in response saves $85 million in follow up work. The cost of advertising is only one dollar per person.

Census responses from 1950 to 1980 declined. Advertising started in 2000 and responses jumped exponentially. The upfront investment saved millions over the long term. Educating the public to the importance of the count gets the point across.

Responding to the census is the most confidential interaction you'll have with the government.

The process is now in the "non-response" follow up period. Bay County, along with Saginaw, Flint and Detroit are considered "hard to count" areas, based on twelve indicators including housing, employment, and people on social services.

The best outcome is when people mail forms back. That costs 42 cents. Personal follow up costs $57 per try, and workers will try up to seven times for each non-responding address.

Michigan is leading in the national averages for responses. The state understands the importance. Turner cited studies indicating that in the good old days when the auto industry ruled with high wages, high employment and great benefits, people didn't worry about federal money. In hard times it's much more important and people know that.

The process will wrap up around the end of June. The count will be on the President's desk December 31. On January 1 congress will begin the constitutionally mandated redistricting process.

Even after the count is done the Census Bureau continues to work. They continually collect data through personal interviews and research. The bureau is responsible for numbers like the unemployment rate and the consumer price index. This data is available for free on the web at


The club thanks and recognizes Paul Harris Fellows George Shaw, Bonnie Marsh, Bob Chadwick (plus 4), Leo Najar, Gena Gates (plus 3), and Don and Betty Carylon for their contributions to the Rotary Foundation.

Matt Stark announced that the Liberty Bell Award, given each year by local bar associations in conjunction with Law Day to honor outstanding citizens within the local community, was presented to Don Carlyon this year.

A new member orientation will be held May 26.
Make-up On-Line at


2010 Golf Scramble Monday, June 28 at the Bay City Country Club. Save the date.
Learn more at

Upcoming Programs

(See the official schedule at )
  • May 11: 10 Minute Rotarian

  • June 29: CPS-3 Study a grassroots effort where local communities from across the country can support cancer research not just through fundraising efforts like Relay For Life, but also by participating actively in this historic research study.


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    Stephen Kent

    Steve Kent and his family have lived in Bay City for 40 years. He is VP of Technical Services at MMCC which produces MyBayCity.Com. Kent is active in many Bay City civic organizations.

    More from Stephen Kent

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